Standing alone among the past week’s attacks on Byline Media is the Twitter onslaught from (thankfully) former Tory MP Louise Mensch, not because it has landed any blows on the site and its contributors, but because her tendency to inaccuracy has caused her to veer not just close to the defamation line, but straight across it, as she has made claims about Byline backer Eric X Li that are unequivocally libellous.
(c) Doc Hackenbush 2014
Moreover, Mr Li, being worth rather more than Ms Mensch, would be able to secure the services of enough legal muscle to take her to the cleaners in very short order, should he be so minded. So it might be thought that she would stop and think, but that thought would be misplaced: Ms Mensch does not do apologies willingly.
The latest Mensch rant-fest began as nothing more than
an ill-informed snipe at Byline, as she wibbled “heat street didn't lie about our funding from rich Russians
”. Byline isn’t funded by any Russians, and nobody has lied about its funding, but hey ho. “Byline media presented itself as crowd funded what utter bullshit
”. All contributors to Byline Media are crowd funded. Draw your own conclusions
. But there was more. Rather a lot more.
“When I pretend http://heatst.com/UK is crowd funded, hold me to account
”. No thanks, I don’t want to look
over there. Try again. “So you admit that [Byline Media] is funded by anti democracy oligarch?
” she demanded of
co-curator Peter Jukes. He didn’t. Because it isn’t.
Could it get yet worse? It certainly could
: “Were you personally enriched by this anti democracy oligarch while asking to be crowd funded?
” Doesn’t make sense. The Byline model is quite straightforward: the backers pay for the platform, and contributors who publish there are crowdfunded. And there still aren’t any oligarchs involved. Have another go. “Why did you accept funding for byline media from an anti democracy billionaire comment pls
”. She appears to mean
Eric X Li. But cannot stand her claim up.
“‘Dictatorship works better than democracy’. The Chinese billionaire funding @peterjukes
” claimed Ms Mensch, but she is taking
Andrew Gilligan on trust. What Mr Li actually said can be seen HERE
(clue: it’s not quite the same thing). But then she lost all
sense of reason and frothed “Hi sure can you explain why you took funding from an anti Semite anti democracy billionaire thanks
”. That is directly and unambiguously libellous.
It got worse
. After sneering “Hey @peterjukes you've hidden behind a ‘sizeable’ mortgage how ‘sizeable’?
” - Jukes is doing no such thing - she doubled down on the libel
with “How long after this man was exposed as an anti-semite did byline take funding from him?
Let’s take this nice and slowly, so Ms Mensch has a chance of understanding it. Gilligan claimed that
Mr Li had written articles for The 4th Media, a site that also includes all manner of conspiracy theories, including some that are anti-Semitic. But he had not written for that site - The 4th Media is an aggregator that copied and pasted items from other sites. The Telegraph later withdrew that claim
, and in any case levelled no claim of anti-Semitism against Mr Li. After all, there is no evidence to support such a claim.
Nor is there any evidence that Li is “anti-democratic
”. But there is evidence that Louise Mensch has libelled him, and unless she withdraws quickly, who knows what will follow
Interesting that Mensch used heatst.com/UK - even most of her own website want nothing to do with her it seems.
I'm don't give a damn about Eric X Li but I do about the foreign anti-democratic billionaire who controls so much of the media here in Australia and also a substantial proportion of the UK media and who apparently employs someone called Louis Mensch who sounds very very angry about a lot of things.
Louise Mensch has finally capitulated and decided to finance the new investigative website called Byline.
Louise has taken an alternative route to backing this innovative website by, instead of providing money, giving free publicity by creating a spurious Heat Ed controversy. Slamming the website on Twitter with altogther libellous "facts", which Byline have fairly easily brushed aside, she has singlehandedly, with a bit of support from her Murdoch pals, caused a stir of readership affinity with the new site.
An unnamed source, whose name cannot be revealed, said that Ms Mensch was unusually not available for comment but that her lawyers have said that it's possible she could be contributing more to Byline's funds indirectly in future.
Somebody, who knows someone else who has read Byline, said Ms Mensch's financial contributions will be welcome but that it is unlikely that she will be writing for Byline now or in the forseeable future. Another unnamed source, whose name cannot be revealed, said "Good" #happy face.
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